Is every visit you make to a restaurant a delightful experience? Probably not! In fact I’d go so far as to bet your experiences range from the bad through OK to absolutely brilliant and as salon owners we can learn from them all!
1. What can we learn from the bad experience?
Well, we’ve all had at least one and you don’t forget them in a hurry do you!
I’ll never forget my worst experience. I ordered Steak and Kidney pie. When it arrived, it had obviously just been reheated under the grill because the filling was cold but the crust was hot and burnt.
Rather than complaining to the waiter, I picked up my dish, stomped into the kitchen, walked up to the man wearing the funny hat who I presumed was the chef and said, “You really don’t expect me to eat this, do you?”
I went back to my table, feeling very proud of myself because I’d made my point in an unforgettable way and a replacement dish was duly brought out.
The feeling of pride didn’t last for long though.
The chef got his own back when the ‘orange with ginger sauce’ I ordered for pudding nearly blew the back of my head off. He obviously had great fun putting a triple dose of ginger in it!
I never went back, twenty years later I’m still talking about my ‘experience’ and to nobody’s surprise the restaurant closed within 6 months!
Now, if you think about it you’ll see that it doesn’t actually matter whether as an unhappy customer you complain in an over the top way like I did or say nothing at all, because either way you’ll still tell your friends about it afterwards and you certainly wouldn’t recommend they go, would you.
The same applies to your unhappy clients at the salon.
2. What can we learn from the ‘OK’ experience?
Well, this is the ‘silent killer’ of restaurants and salons. Sadly it’s also what you get 90%-95% of the time.
Think about it. You’re not kept waiting too long; you get what you asked for, it’s on time and the price is what you expected to pay.
You’re not upset, in fact everything is ‘OK’ but you’re not ‘WOWED’ so you don’t talk about it.
We have to realise that offering ‘OK’ is almost as dangerous as giving clients a bad experience.
Because, if people aren’t talking about your business IT WILL WITHER AWAY AND DIE simply because there’ll be little or no word of mouth marketing coming from clients and you won’t have the profit margin to constantly advertise.
That’s why it’s the clients that don’t complain that you need to worry about!!
3. What can we learn from the ‘WOW’ experience?
If you’ve enjoyed one in a restaurant you were probably seated immediately; offered drinks within minutes, the food was served promptly and presented beautifully, it tasted amazing and the service and ambience were fantastic!
You’ve probably told other people about your experience as well, haven’t you!
Of course you would and you’re probably thinking… “I get it Simon, the moral of this article is, create a ‘WOW’ experience and everything will be fine.”
But you’d be wrong!
You’d be wrong because the first time you experience a new ‘WOW’ it stands out like a lighthouse when you’re lost at sea, or a glass of cold water in the middle of the desert.
The SAME experience the third or fourth time you get it just becomes what you ‘EXPECT’ and this is when things get dangerous because we start to notice any niggles we were blind to before.
Yes, those little things that can frustrate a client. You might keep them waiting; get their name, their coffee or their favourite magazine wrong, the toilet might be cold or out of toilet roll. I could go on, but you know what I mean. These niggles might not be bad enough to stop your ‘wowed’ client coming back to you but I promise you they WILL stop them becoming ‘RAVING FANS’ of yours which means … they won’t be recommending you!
So to summarise the real moral of this article.
You have to deliver ‘WOW’ and eliminate the niggles if you want to cultivate a constant stream of client recommendations and I set out a four-step process for taking people from ‘OK’ but it’s just a transaction’ through to the ‘RAVING FANS’ in chapter 6 of my book … ‘The Salon Owner’s Guide to Beating the Recession.
I know you’ve probably read it before but reading is one thing, actually doing something about what you’ve read is another.
This means, if you haven’t got all the client recommendations you’d like (and can you ever have enough) it might pay you to go back and look at chapter 6 again. Give yourself a score out of ten for your current ‘RAVING FAN’ performance and then ask“what can I do to improve my score?”